Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Republicans And Racism
And it goes all the way to the top of their party. Just last Monday, GOP veep nominee Paul Ryan told a Michigan reporter that crime is high in the inner city (read: minorities) because of a lack of character. Here are his exact words:
“The best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities is to bring opportunity in the inner cities. Is to help teach people good discipline, good character."
A lack of character? Really? It couldn't have anything to do with poverty, chronic unemployment, poor schools, easy access to firearms, lack of opportunity, an unfair justice system, and just plain old racism? Not for Ryan. For him it's a lack of discipline and a lack of character. He might as well have just come out and said "those darkies just aren't as good as us white Americans", because you can bet that's what his racist base of teabaggers heard.
And he's far from the only Republican leader trading in a thinly disguised racism. It is common to hear them talk of those lazy people on welfare (welfare queens) who just want to live off the government. And you can bet the teabaggers picture blacks when they hear that, and the GOP leaders know it. Even Romney himself has engaged in this kind of talk more than once. Remember his 47% remark? Remember his remarks after his ill-fated visit to the NAACP convention?
It has gotten so bad that some GOP leaders don't even try to hide their racism anymore. Consider this list (from the excellent blog AlterNet) of Republicans going so far as to defend the odious and barbaric institution of slavery:
“America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.”
Michele Bachmann & Rick Santorum
Both signed a pledge written by Bob Vander Plaats which said:
“A child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”
This GOP congressional candidate in Oregon published a book stating:
“The negroes on a well-ordered estate, under kind masters, were probably a happier class of people than the laborers upon any estate in Europe.”
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson
“Thank God for slavery, because if not, the blacks who are here would have been stuck in Africa.”
“If slave labor created wealth for Americans, then obviously it has created wealth for black Americans as well, including the descendants of slaves.”
Texas GOP congressional candidate
“Are the descendants of slaves really worse off? Would Jesse Jackson be better off living in Uganda?”
Rep. Trent Franks
“Far more of the African American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by the policies of slavery.”
"The worst thing that was done to black people since slavery was the great society programs."
Arkansas State Rep. Loy Mauch
"If slavery were so God-awful, why didn’t Jesus or Paul condemn it, why was it in the Constitution and why wasn’t there a war before 1861?"
Why do the Republicans do this? The simple answer is for votes. Ever since Democrat Lyndon Johnson signed a series of civil rights laws in the 1960's, the Republican Party has been winning a lot of elections by pandering to racists (especially in the South, where racists fleeing the Democratic Party have given them majorities in states where they were once a tiny minority).
Republicans know that racism is alive and well in the United States. And they don't mind mining that racist element in America for votes. They deny it, of course. But that doesn't change the facts. And they fact is that racism is becoming an ever more prominent part of their party. They could get rid of the racists if they wanted to. The Democrats did it by supporting equality, both in the government and in their own party rules. But the Republicans have chosen not to do that. They don't want to drive those racist votes to a third party.